36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”


Planning professionalism and re-building trust in a post-truth era


  • Katie McClymont,  UWE Bristol
  • Hannah Hickman, UWE Bristol


  • Mark Oranje,  University of Pretoria
  • Gabriela Debrunner,  ETH Zürich
  • David Kaufmann, ETH Zürich
  • John Sturzaker, University of Hertfordshire

This roundtable will look at trust in planning and trust in planners with a focus on professionalism and expert knowledge in a populist, polarised “post-truth”, era, where the sense of “public interest” remains vital but is in dispute.  In a broader international context of an ongoing crisis in trust in institutions and experts, trust in planning matters because planning is at the heart of increasingly contentious – and at times polarising - debates about tackling global challenges around climate, access to housing, health, and inequality. It will enable critical consideration of the commonalities and differences in the role of planning and the planner in different contexts. 

It will draw on divergent experiences in Switzerland, South Africa and the UK to outline differing relationships with residents, governments and knowledge; to seek commonalities and differences between practice and practitioners.

Critically, this discussion aims to explore how and if we can learn through international comparison to re-building trust, critical for ensuring planning’s positive role in tackling key global challenges.

Keywords:  Trust, professionalism, public interest, post-truth